Starting on February 11, 2018, most Maryland employers will be required to provide sick leave to their employees. Last month, the Maryland General Assembly overrode Governor Hogan's veto to pass the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act ("the Act"), Maryland's new paid sick leave law. Although the General Assembly is currently considering emergency legislation that would postpone the effective date of the law, absent such a delay, the Act will take effect as of February 11, 2018.
Under the Act, Maryland employers with 15 or more employees must provide their employees with at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, but may cap the total hours of sick leave accrued at 40 hours per year. Employers with fewer than 15 employees must still provide their employees with at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year—but that leave may be unpaid. The Act covers full-time, as well as most part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees, but carves out a number of limited exceptions.
An employee may use sick leave under the Act to (1) care for their own mental or physical illness, injury, or condition or that of a family member; (2) obtain preventive medical care for themselves or a family member; (3) take maternity or paternity leave; or (4) deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
Employers must generally allow employees to carry over at least 40 hours of accrued sick leave into the next year, but may cap the amount of sick leave that can ever be accrued at 64 hours total. Alternatively, employers may comply with the Act by providing all employees with the annual maximum of 40 hours of sick leave at the beginning of each year, and then prohibit any carryover into the next year. Employers may also impose a 106-calendar-day waiting period on using the leave, and can require advance notice of the employee's need for sick leave (up to 7 days' notice if the need for leave is foreseeable; as soon as practicable if it is not).
Importantly, employers will not be required to pay employees for any accrued but unused sick leave upon termination of employment. The Act also imposes certain notice and recordkeeping requirements on employers, and details the penalties for noncompliance. For further details please see Paid Sick Leave Comes to Maryland on February 11.
We will keep you advised of further legislative and administrative developments. Please contact the authors of this alert if you have any questions.